Students are seen skating in a large room converted to a skating rink. There is a disco ball in the foreground.

(Above) Students enjoy one of the many activities in Dawgs Nite Out as part of Salukis in Unity, a series of fun events to welcome students back for the spring semester and foster college success. (Below) Chancellor Austin A. Lane greets students as part of Meet Your Leadership, another Salukis in Unity event. (Photos by Kylen Lunn)

February 01, 2024

SIU Carbondale’s spring 2024 enrollment rises

by Kim Rendfeld

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s spring 2024 enrollment is up almost 4% – 401 students – compared to last year. This follows a fall that saw the first enrollment growth since 2014. 

“After an amazing fall, we have a fantastic start to the spring semester,” said Chancellor Austin A. Lane. “This latest news again shows how Salukis imagine bold goals and then work tirelessly to achieve them.” 

This past fall, SIU Carbondale enjoyed the highest overall boost in the number of students in 21 years and highest percentage increase in over 30 years. For the fourth consecutive year, the freshman class grew. It was the first time in at least 50 years the university had increased its freshman class for four years in a row. 

“This success is not magic,” Lane said. “It is the result of the strategic, diligent efforts of many Salukis – our faculty and staff, our alumni and friends, members of the community and even our students. I am grateful for their dedication to attracting students and helping them succeed from orientation to graduation.” 

A total of 10,525 students are pursuing their degrees at SIU this spring. (Spring enrollment is usually less than fall because of December graduations.) 

Enrollment for undergraduates is up 4.39% from spring 2023 while graduate enrollment rose 3.48%. Enrollment also increased among Black and Hispanic students, 5.39% and 3.47%, respectively. There are 8.72% more international students as well. 

2024-1-24-2844-kl-sm.jpg“Like our efforts to bring students to SIU Carbondale to start or continue their education, our work to retain students and help them stay in school is universitywide,” Lane said. 

About 84% of new freshmen continued their studies into the spring. Efforts to help students become alumni include strengthening the first-year experience, launching the HEROES program to help students meet basic needs and reinstituting the Dr. Seymour Bryson Future Scholars summer program. In addition, advisers proactively reach out to students when they see early signs of the need for assistance. 

“We will continue our efforts to remove barriers, including financial ones,” Lane said. 

In 2020, SIU Carbondale launched the Saluki Commitment and Saluki Transfer Commitment to close financial gaps for students who qualify, and in 2023, the university raised the family income limit to $103,040. In the last three years, SIU has joined the Common App, signed agreements with several schools and youth organizations in the Southern Illinois region and the Metro East, more strategically recruited students and increased marketing, advertising and communications. 

Off-campus enrollment, which includes online programs, rose 7.3%. Part of that success can be attributed to Saluki Step Ahead agreements signed with more than 40 community colleges in Illinois plus institutions in Kentucky, Missouri and Texas since 2021. Saluki Step Ahead provides a seamless path for students who earn associate degrees in participating community colleges to obtain their SIU bachelor's degrees online in select programs. 

“We have a lot to offer to students of all ages and walks of life, including people with limited options,” Lane said, “and we will continue to reach out to students and let them know of the rare opportunities available to them at SIU Carbondale.”